Beleaguered wealth managers told to ‘think differently’ about leadership structures


Sally Humphris

Wealth managers and financial services organisations – such as ANZ, IOOF and NAB – that are working their way through the implications of the Royal Commission were told to start thinking differently regarding their leadership structures. 

IOOF, which is seeking a new CEO, revealed just this week that it will require the approval of the prudential regulator before its billion-dollar purchase of ANZ’s OnePath superannuation business can proceed.

Changes to organisational management are being implemented in order to better manage external and internal risks, conflicts of interests, and ensuring client best interests duty is met, notes industry people specialists SUPER Recruiters.  

Sally Humphris, Executive Director at SUPER Recruiters, says: “Organisations, like IOOF and others, may better manage internal and external business risks by appointing co-CEOs, a strategic leadership move businesses such as JP Morgan Chase have adopted. The co CEO structure has enabled business growth as well as ensuring best interests duty and reputation remain intact. 

“It is important to set the right culture from board level down. Boards appointing co-CEOs, one being a former regulator, bringing governance and compliance disciplines, and the other being a strong business leader, could overcome many of the reputational issues being faced by these organisations,” suggests Ms Humphris.

“This approach would provide a better start to help repair issues identified by the Royal Commission and also reputation by providing stakeholders with the peace of mind that an experienced regulatory professional was embedded within such organisations.”

Ms Humphris suggested that while the industry disclaims that past performance is not a guarantee of future performance, it often is when it comes to people. “These organisations need to engage proven performers. HR departments recognise that good people can make a big difference to their performance and culture.”

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